How to Punctuate References to Dates and Times
Where do the commas go in references to days, months, years, and time of day? Take some time to note these punctuation rules:
No comma is needed between a month and a year: “The meeting was held in August 2011.” The same form is correct for referring to a holiday during a certain year: “I haven’t seen her since Christmas 2005.” However, set the year off from the month and day: “She attended the August 31, 2011, meeting.”
Use a comma to set a day off from the date on which the particular day falls: “The meeting was held on Wednesday, August 31.” A continuation of the sentence requires a second comma: “The meeting was held on Wednesday, August 31, and the report was issued the following week.”
No comma is required between a date and a starting time for an event on that date: “The meeting is scheduled for August 31 at 7 p.m.” A continuation of the sentence requires no punctuation unless a new independent clause is introduced: “The meeting is scheduled for August 31 at 7 p.m. and is expected to last for three hours,” but “The meeting is scheduled for August 31 at 7 p.m., and it is expected to last for three hours.”
However, as in the second example in the second paragraph, the combination of day, date, and time requires organizational punctuation: “The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, at 7 p.m.”
“The meeting is scheduled for August 31, 7-9 p.m.” (Print publications should use an en dash for the time range; some online publications do so, too.) A comma should follow the time range if the sentence continues: “The meeting is scheduled for August 31, 7-9 p.m., and will feature a guest speaker.” A reference to day, date, and time requires commas between each pair of elements: “The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, 7-9 p.m.” (And don’t precede a time range with from: It’s either “7-9 p.m.” or “from 7 to 9 p.m.”)
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